Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel

Securing an International Sales Agent

We got an international sales agent!

 

 

How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.

 

Hold up – what’s a sales agent and why do you need one?

 

A sales agent is a person or organisation who represents a film and filmmaker in the marketplace in order to secure the film’s distribution. They develop market strategies, negotiate deals and in return for a percentage of profits, work hard to make as much revenue from the product as possible.

 

As for whether or not you need one, that’s arguable in this day and age. Traditionally, yes, having a sales agent is preferable. They take a lot of the heavy lifting away. They have connections and existing relationships that film producers and creatives don’t have time to foster or upkeep, and they have the hard nosed hustle to work the best deal. However, with the rising accessibility to platforms like Amazon, various Video on Demand platforms and self distributing to cinemas, many filmmakers are deciding to self distribute which has varying degrees of success. Check out this awesome article to see if a sales agent is best for you.

 

How on Earth did we score such a feat?

 

It’s been a long road. For sure. I didn’t expect the film to be finished in six months, but I didn’t think we’d still be working on it two years after shooting. That’s what’s happened. I’m exporting different versions, I’m exporting single shots, I’m exporting still frames from the raw footage, Phil from Underground Sound is exporting new audio stems, and the most interesting update of all: we got a new poster made.

 

Love and Time Travel movie poster

Chronesthesia’s international release poster: renamed Love and Time Travel

 

Hold on, a new title?

 

Big time. It’s part of the international push. Turns out a lot people can’t remember, pronounce or spell Chronesthesia. Go figure. How did we settle on the name Love and Time Travel? Let me go back a few months and explain how we scored a sales agent step by step.

 

Step 1: International festivals

 

Austin, Texas. The Austin Film Festival 2016. Chronesthesia was selected in the Narrative Feature category, one of only seven films to receive such an honour. This was huge news. It’s expensive to submit to film festivals when you’re coming out of nowhere (like we were), so we were strategic. Kelly and Steve, Chrono’s producers, made a wish list of film festivals to get into, then we considered what was realistic to hope for and set about spending the money and sending the screeners.

 

Lo and behold, Austin selected us. Which meant that our American premiere took place in October 2016, two weeks before the American Film Market in LA. This presented a great opportunity for the film to be seen by a lot of people and also for Steve to attend and work some of his American magic (he’s American).

 

Step 2: Film Markets

 

The American Film Market. Early November saw Steve landing in LA for AFM. There are thousands of films up for grabs at this thing. Stalls are set up everywhere, garish promotion screams why their films are the best; everywhere you look are distributors and agents and marketing and promo and flyers and seminars and meetings and bullshit. The most important skill you need here is hustle. We are incredibly lucky: Steve has impressive hustle.

 

Steve (middle) schmoozing (or ‘networking’) at AFF2016

 

Again, Steve made a list, an Excel spreadsheet even, listing the potential sales agents we could get in touch with. Then he set about meeting them. He used cold call emails, he used existing connections to garner introductions, and old fashioned handshakes in person. Steve did it all. After a full on week, the spreadsheet was filled with large red mark-ups. People weren’t interested. The film doesn’t fit into a simple genre. It’s indie, it’s romantic, it’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s thrilling, it has time travel… how do you sell a film like that? On top of that, it has no cast! Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople counts as a name, but even still… Americans could barely understand our kiwi accents!

 

Luckily, we had step three…

 

Step Three: Persistence

 

Back in NZ, we had a few sales agents express interest. They watched the trailer after Steve bleated a few sentences at them about the film’s charm, and wanted to know more. We sent out a six minute sizzle reel I cut together showcasing the film’s multiple facets of beauty. After watching that, the sales agents’ interest either increased or dissipated. For those who were keen on more, we sent an online screener so they could watch the whole film and after a month we had three offers for representation.

 

Crazy. That blew my mind. We were coming up a year since shooting the movie, and finally we were getting somewhere closer to eyes on screens. All we’ve ever wanted is for people to enjoy the story and be touched, give them something to think about, and getting a sales agent is a huge step toward that. The hustle continued. Emails flowed back and forth. We researched the companies and decided the WPE is a good fit and the head honcho Phil Gorn has a fantastic reputation as a just and honest person.

 

Step Four: Deliverables

 

Contracts are fun. Not really. Good god, not at all. Thank goodness for Steve and Kelly. They read everything, translated it so we understood it, discussed it with us, and took care of the heavy lifting. I think I iterate often how grateful Simeon and I are to have them, but I’ll say it again here: Good producers rock.

 

Contracts aside, there’s a lot of deliverables you have to provide to a sales agent. They need:

  • Every shot with text in it to be re-exported, so they can re-do the text in different languages.
  • A music cue sheet, which is the title and rights information about every music or score track in the film
  • A dialogue cue sheet, which is the timecode and line of every single piece of dialogue in the film
  • So many stills. We didn’t have a photographer on the shoot so I pulled stills from the footage
  • Credit lists
  • Poster files
  • Different codec exports of the film
  • Any Behind the Scenes footage (of which I have plenty)
  • Electronic Press Kit, which is a simple document that explains what the film is and anything interesting about tit
  • Reviews, awards, festival info

 

That took a little longer to organise than signing a contract. Because we’re independent and not part of a studio, we don’t have employees to sort these kind of things out. We just had to do it. It was our first time, and all things considered, I’m very proud we managed to deliver on everything. I transferred everything onto a hard drive, then couriered it to the USA with a wink and a kiss.

 

Step Five: What Now?

 

With the dialogue cue sheet and the textless shots, Phil at WPE has the ability to prepare the film for any territory around the world. Eventually, money will come in and we can give that straight to all the people who worked so damn hard on this film with no up front fee. Our cast and crew signed contracts that grants them a percentage ownership over the film, while Steve, Kelly, Simeon and I have pledged that we won’t accept any monetary payment until we’ve paid an agreed amount to these people.

 

Basically, we wait.

 

Wait, what about the name change?

 

Oh yes. That’s quite straight forward. Phil at WPE was confused by the name. We never say the word Chronesthesia in the film, so why settle on such a complicated name?

 

I spent a few weeks pondering whether or not titling the film Chronesthesia was a good idea or not. The pros is that it’s unique and meaningful. The cons are that it sounds like a Japanese horror film, it’s impossible to spell or remember upon first hearing, let alone type into Netflix. The tagline for the film was, ‘Love, sex and time travel of the brain.’ This was suggested as a title, as it’s what the film is about, but it’s quite a mouthful. We considered that when boiled down, the film is about two things: Love, and Time Travel. And there’s the title.

 

More Behind the Scenes

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel

Securing an International Sales Agent

We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe

Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Sing Street, Beautiful Ruins, My Dad Wrote a Porno

Winter 2016 Media Picks

 

Winter can be a bastard

 

Rain getting all over your shoes and making your socks wet? Oh fuck that noise. Waking up and feeling the chill of the air as you walk to the bathroom. A nice hot shower is a temporary reprieve sure, then what happens when you turn the stream off and the mist clears, leaving you to tiptoe around the bathroom, drying yourself as quickly as you can so you can put on the underwear you’ve left draped over the heater? The small frustrations and discomforts of the cold season can be thwarted and overcome by the clever consumer. No, not a heater, although those help. A crackling fire in the grate will always do the trick but that luxury has become rare.

 

To warm the heart, a romance is needed. To warm the brain, an intellectually stimulating idea or discussion. To warm the torso, a comedy. I can do you two for three.

 

FILM: SING STREET (2016)

 

Sing Street poster

Directed by John Carney. Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (who?), Lucy Boynton (who?), Jack Reynor (some people might know him).

 

Carney, the writer and director, has written and directed two other films, both featuring romance and music at the forefront. Once (2006), made on a very small budget, and Begin Again (2013) when he had a big more clout. Enough clout to get Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo to star. Both of these films are charming and have great tunes, but Sing Street is a massive step ahead of them. There’s something irresistible about the enthusiasm and fearlessness of the lead character Cosmo, a high school kid who starts a band in order to get a pretty girl to hang out with him.

 

The film looks great too. Set in 1980s Ireland, there are plenty of muted tones during scenes at the uniformed school, but when the makeshift teenage band film their music videos out in the streets and by the ocean, the film is filled with blues and oranges and wind in hair and clothes, making things feel alive and exciting.

 

 

And of course, young love. Who can beat it? The chemistry is great between the actors. The dialogue made me laugh every minute. The story of Cosmo and his dysfunctional family going through hard times compliments the coming of age story as he finds out what turns himself on. Music. Pop rock music in the 80s.

 

I rated Sing Street 10/10 on IMDb, something that took a great deal of thought as I take my movie rating very seriously. When it comes down to it, this film made me feel love. I felt nostalgic for a time I haven’t even lived in, nostalgic for a group of friends I never had, and a girl I’d never met. And the music! I like 80s pop sure, but it’s not my favoured genre. Despite this, the Sing Street single Drive It Like You Stole It is quickly becoming my most played track of the year. I can’t recommend this film highly enough.

 

 

BOOK: BEAUTIFUL RUINS

 

 

Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter

 

Written by Jess Walter.

Jess Walter is an American writer who’s written six novels to date, over a dozen short stories and plenty of poetry. He runs a podcast with an author friend where they discuss literature, music and other art and have guests perform poetry and music. Beautiful Ruins is currently being adapted into a film.

 

Beautiful Ruins was released in 2012 and I have sentimental history with it. I was in Bali with my partner at the time and she was suffering from a fever. I had borrowed the book from a friend with her high recommendation. I started reading it in the cheap hotel we were staying, pausing every sixty seconds to run hot water over a flannel for my poor girlfriend. Facing the full night in the hotel room, I bought a pack of Guinness and settled in. I absolutely devoured it.

 

Four years later, I’m struggling to enjoy reading. I put down my third book in a row that I can’t finish. I’m bored. Nothing is getting to me. I can’t seem to enjoy prose or character or plot, choosing to swipe through Facebook instead of finishing the chapter. I decide, like any good reader should, to reread something that touched me in the past. I choose Beautiful Ruins. I’ve bought this book a few times for gifts in the past, intending to read it again but never getting around to it. Of course, part of me is concerned. What if I don’t like it as much as I remember? Will the memory of reading it beat out the actual experience of reading it?

 

I needn’t have worried. Without giving away anything important about the plot, this book is about love. Spanning over multiple continents and decades, the cast of characters as they weave through each other’s lives ensures you’re never bored. Walter has written in a variety of forms. You’ve got your usual third person narrative, then we have a chapter of first person thought, a stream of consciousness movie pitch in Hollywood, the opening chapter of a character’s autobiography, an opening chapter of another character’s unfinished novel.

 

Beautiful Ruins Pasquale Dee

Pasquale and Dee as portrayed by cover art

 

The story is about Pasquale, an Italian hotel owner in his twenties on a remote island, who meets and falls for American actress Dee Moray during a short stay of hers. I really liked it when I read it the first time, but the second time I read it I loved it. Passionately. I was bawling, tears streaming down my face and blurring my vision so much I had to take a break, breathe through it, before I could continue reading. It’s a fulfilling book.

 

PODCAST: MY DAD WROTE A PORNO

 

 

Belinda Blinked My Dad Wrote a Porno

 

Recorded by James cooper, Jamie Morton and Alice Levine

 

Whether you’re big on podcasts or not, this is a must listen. It’s a phenomenally funny piece of pop culture, quickly gaining more and more listeners world wide. It started off simply enough. Morton, upon discovering his father had written an entire erotic novel, enlisted his friends James and Alice to listen to him read it, chime in with thoughts and feelings they experienced, and recorded it.

 

The book itself is at once hilariously cringe-worthy, explicitly sexual, anatomically misguided, poorly written yet strangely addictive and absorbing. The story follows Belinda Blumenthal as she’s hired at ‘Steeles Pots and Pans’ and attempts to rise in the business world while having a vast amount of strange and colourful sex with an eclectic mix of partners.

 

Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine

James Cooper, Jamie Morton and Alice Levine

 

The friendship of Cooper, Morton and Levine makes the podcast what it is. Levine is often disgusted but always quick to joke, Cooper enjoys the lurid details of female body from the safe vantage of homosexuality, while Morton reads on, playing Devil’s advocate when necessary to salvage what he can of his father’s reputation (pen name Rocky Flintstone). The camaraderie and quick wit of the team combined with the icky and outlandish source material make listening to the latest episode of My Dad Wrote a Porno the funnest hour of your week.

 

Bring on Spring

Those three things have been lifesavers during this cold blue season. All things considered, we are lucky people to be alive and able to consume media at such a time that these three exist.

 

I’m looking forward to the second season of My Dad Wrote a Porno, as well as Carney’s next film and Walter’s next book. In the meantime, we can busy ourselves with rereading, rewatching and relistening to the magic that is Beautiful Ruins, Sing Street and My Dad Wrote a Porno.

 

Cheers and enjoy your winter!

Silhouette Hayden camera with Nova sunset

Delivery Deadline Looming!

Deadline: 5 weeks!

 

 

That is how long we have to finish the film. That’s not a lot of time. I was under the impression our premiere was our deadline, but of course that’s not the case! There’s mixing and DCP making and testing and ingesting and censorship boards and ratings to do…

 

DCP making? A DCP is a way of transporting your movie. It stands for Digital Cinema Package and it’s how projectors at cinemas read your film. Creating the DCP of your film is a challenge in itself that I’ll tackle in a later post when I’ve done some experimenting.

 

What needs to be done?

I’m glad you asked. The answer doesn’t make me so glad:

Quite a lot.

The visual effects. VFX are time consuming and take a lot of energy and brain power from our uber talented multi-string bowed Director of Photography Simeon Duncombe. He’s currently finishing up a big show at WETA and his time is precious! Chronesthesia has a few sequences, most are mild but there’s one sequence in particular that is quite large… it’s the climax…

 

The colour grade. Simeon is also in charge of the grade. I’ve smashed a temporary grade for watchability’s sake, but it’s nothing compared to the control Simeon has over the image. And the eye. That guy has an eye for images, hence his successful career at WETA Digital, and he’s going to make sure Chronesthesia looks great.

 

The Sound. I say ‘sound’ and I mean Additional Dialogue Recording (ADR), mixing, designing, EQing, spacing, balancing, and the final master with score. A mammoth job. Phil Burton at Underground Sound is our head honcho for this. He’s a genius, that’s all I can really say about him. He has the tools, he has the know how, the only things he lacks is the time and the money, and that’s 100% my responsibility and the blame rests on these heavy shoulders. Despite that, Phil is putting his nose to the grindstone and getting it done!

 

Check out this video about my last trip down to see the team:

 

The Music. I’m a big music fan. Music in movies is often what makes me see a film repeatedly. If it’s not the awesome soundtrack, it’s the original score that makes me pumped and gives me goosebumps. Thanks to years of making smaller films and meeting talented people, I had Johnny Barker to call upon for pop music. He’s in multiple bands and also records solo and he gave me free reign on his entire discography. I chose four tracks that kick arse and they’re in there, playing in the background and forefront of scenes. Me and Barker recorded one original track that plays as live music in the film and there’s a vlog coming soon about it.

 

The Score. SCORE! What an integral part of the proceedings. We have a composing prodigy doing Chronesthesia’s score named Conor Cameron. He’s a fellow 48hour filmmaker and we’ve admired each other’s films for many years without having any genuine face time. It’s exciting to have him aboard, working his sweet little tits off to make his outrageous deadline for four weeks… for a feature film… I’m in love with what he’s done and we’re about 30% of the way to a finished score.

Check out this vlog about Conor and the score, as well as our FINAL RECORDED PICKUP:

 

Will we make it?

Are you kidding me? Of course we will. There’s no alternative. The film is playing to an audience in July and it has to be the best possible film it can be. People are working hard, through the night (Conor’s up at 2:30am to rock a full day before his usual day-to-day), and through their weekends. Chronesthesia is going to blow people’s minds!

 

Keep your ears and eyes out because things are really heating up. Time travel of the brain, an indie romance with time travel: CHRONESTHESIA

 

#HJWBTS #ChronoMovie

More Behind the Scenes

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel

Securing an International Sales Agent

We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe

Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Happy Man with Projector Flare

Travelling for Post Production Meetings (VIDEO)

 

Travelling for meetings

 

 

What a time to have moved away from Wellington! Have a couple of meetings scheduled? It’s no longer a scooter ride, now it’s a nine and a half hour overnight bus then a hire car to come back up. On the other hand, absence makes the heart grow and grow and grow, so when me and Simeon catch up it’s like seeing a long lost lover.

 

Simeon Love

How could you not love him?

 

Things are really starting to heat up in the post production train. Simeon has been working on the visual effects in the film, in particular the climax sequence (which has 50% of the film’s effects). I’ve been having meetings with various producers and filmmakers about the current cut, finding out what works and what’s not quite hitting.

 

Here’s an awesome video about my latest trip down to Wellington:

 

 

 

The biggest issue with the film right now is the dense plot. Most people can tell what’s going on character-wise, but because it’s a twisty, turny time travel plot, some of the important plot points and clues are being missed, while others are obvious. It turns out we are gonna have to do some pickups. We’re scheduling them for early in the New Year.

 

Pickups means I’ll have to cut my hair and don the Dan costume again. Get back into the character. However, Michelle Ny now resides in Auckland, Nova is a year old and it’s noticeable, Shane Rangi is overseas, Cohen is busy as heck, which means the pickups will feature myself and possibly a new member of cast, or one of the supporting cast.

 

HJWBTS

 

More BTS

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel

Securing an International Sales Agent

We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe

Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Hayden J. Weal holding Chronesthesia hard drive

Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
NZIFF selected Chronesthesia premiere

Big Announcement - Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

Read More
Silhouette Hayden camera with Nova sunset

Delivery Deadline Looming!

Deadline: 5 weeks!     That is how long we have to finish the film. That’s not a lot of time. I was under the impression our premiere was our deadline, but of course that’s not the case! There’s mixing and DCP making and testing and ingesting and censorship boards and ratings to do…   […]

Read More
Smiling Hayden with Phil Underground Sound

New Team Members and a Locked Cut (VIDEOS)

  New Team Members?     As we progress from the editing stage through to the REAL POST PRODUCTION world of colour, visual effects, sound, music, marketing and promo, we need more people. More power. More genius. Which leads us to these new team members: Welcome to our new producers Kelly Kilgour and Steve Barr. Welcome […]

Read More
The Slump writing in front of a confused man

The Inevitable Post Production Slump

 

No posts for two months?

 

 

It’s a slump. Let’s call it what it is. A slump. A big, great dirty slump of life.

 

The good news: The film is cut.

Hayden Weal Simeon Duncombe Film

 

The bad news: Work has temporarily ceased on it. Here’s why:

 

It happens to a lot of people after travel. Seeing other countries, relaxing in the sun, something new and exciting every day for five months, then back to the place I’ve been for the last decade. Wellington is colder and windier than I remember, and while seeing my friends and family again is a really great feeling, I can’t help feeling like my sails suddenly lack wind.

 

Also, Simeon Duncombe, the DOP and Visual Effects Supervisor, has gone to Hawaii with his partner for a month! Hard to do anything when the director traipses over Europe for five months the DOP is gone too.

 

I am unemployed, I have no flat or residence, and there has also been other personal hurdles in the mix. I’m currently staying with my amazing friend Andy Campion, who you’ll recognise from 2 Point 21 fame, director of Hot Rob and Jack and Chops. I’m directing a teaser for a comedy pilot (can’t give any more details) and I have plans to move back home for a couple of months then move to Auckland. To fight this feeling of stagnancy, I got a tattoo.

 

 

I've loved Harry Potter for 15 years, that won't change... right?

I’ve loved Harry Potter for 15 years, that won’t change… right?

 

That’s right. It’s the symbol of the Deathly Hallows and it’s incredible. It’s a daily reminder that I want to be a Gryffindor and to make decisions Harry Potter would be proud of.

 

Please excuse the pubes, by the way.

 

All that said, the film has been screened to some important people at a respected production company with hopes they’re interested in helping with the accounting and sales side of the filmmaking process. Because let’s face it, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to distribution and marketing. That’s a big game. I’m a storyteller and I am great at making films, and I’m open to all the advice and assistant I can get when it comes to the business side.

 

So while progress has felt slow, it’s still trickling along. There is a lot of visual effects work to be done, and there’s a lot of grading and sound work to be done, then there’s the score. My gosh, I’m excited to post the first BTS post about the score. It’s probably my favourite part of the whole process.

 

I’ll leave you with this gorgeous still. Get pumped! The film is coming!

 

Hayden Weal Michelle Ny Film

 

HJWBTS

More BTS

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel

Securing an International Sales Agent

We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe

Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Hayden J. Weal holding Chronesthesia hard drive

Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
NZIFF selected Chronesthesia premiere

Big Announcement - Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

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og_image Feature Film Test

Feature Film Test Shoot (VIDEO)

Get your friends and do a test shoot

Alright, so much to learn! Me and Simeon nipped out after work around 3pm and got some shots of me (playing Dan, the lead character) running about through Wellington’s gorgeous Breaker Bay. Then Emma Draper (playing Sophia, the leading lady) joined us with our fantastic friend David Chatterton and we shot some dialogue on the beach.

 

You’ll remember Emma from About Last Night | Nick and Alice, and David from Kind Eyes.

 

 

Simeon Duncombe DOP Test shoot

Simeon Duncombe, our DoP and camera operator (and gear provider), getting a feel for the look of Chronesthesia (working title)

 

The test shoot was used to see how the camera would look in certain places, and also to experiment with keeping the camera static on a tripod and what we could do to make the film look visually interesting. It’s difficult when you can’t do big sweeping movements, but the alternative is handheld which is in danger of looking amateur.

I’ve learned a lot about the dialogue and the vibe of the two lead characters and draft four will incorporate all my new ideas. One thing I’ll relax on is length of dialogue. When the camera is set up and you’ve got a nice looking single shot on a character talking, it takes an insignificant amount of time to pop off an extra page of dialogue. So in draft four, all the conversations will flow a lot freer and longer.

The score was rushed but I feel like I’m getting a feel for the creepy, slightly tense melodies I’m wanting to create for the film. Plus this scene takes place just over halfway through the film where things have started to get weird. All up, test shoots are a very good idea.

 

Please enjoy!

 

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Like What You Like

Do you ever feel embarrassed admitting you like Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande’s song Problem? Greeted with furrowed brows when confessing to rereading the Harry Potter series? Laughed at when coming clean about your love for anal?

 

NOT ANYMORE!

 

hayden j weal naked queenstown

FREEDOM!

 

You don’t choose what gets you going any more than you choose to be heterosexual or Asian or have freckles, dimples, crooked teeth, red blood or brown poo. It’s ingrained in our genetic code, meshed and melded by various life experiences . We have no control over it, so why must we have any emotional protectiveness over what other people think of it?

 

I dig The Beatles despite my parents never listening to them in the house. I never listen to The Bee Gees although their hits were on every family cassette tape and played on a constant, screeching loop in the car. My favourite colour is purple and I have no idea why. I’m not gonna question it. Why would I? Why should I?

 

The Beatles. Purple. The dream.

 

Okay sure, I kind of understand certain associations. If you say you genuinely like Justin Bieber as a person, you’re putting yourself out there for scrutiny because you’re saying you feel some level of parallel thinking toward him and the silly mistakes he continues to make. I’d also cringe and jump to assumptions about you as a person if you told me you were a fan of Hitler. Unanimously, the world agrees Hitler’s views were evil so if you feel an affinity for that dude, we’re gonna look at you with scared eyes and you’ll have a hard go of it making friends.

 

Hitler and Bieber

 

However, let me paint a picture and let’s dissect it. This actually happened.

 

I’m at work. Standing behind a counter, serving movie tickets, making coffees, flirting with ladies over 60, the usual. I’m chatting with workmates about films when two young ladies approach us. I turn, flash my winning smile and ask them how I can help.

“Two tickets for the 6:30, please. Students,” one of them says. She’s got straw coloured hair and little stud earrings. She’s pretty.

“No worries. You heard much about it?” I ask.

“‘Sposed to be good,” she says.

Her friend pipes up. “Awesome soundtrack apparently.”

“Yeah, the music is great,” I say. “It’s kinda like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, you ever see that?”

Blank looks.

“You know, Josh Hutcherson and The Rock team up with Vanessa Hudgens and they go on an adventure…” I continue. “It’s awesome. The Rock does his pec-pop of love in 3D and the berries come out at you…”

An awkward silence.

“Isn’t that film for kids?” the pretty one asks, lip curling in an ugly sneer.

I shrug. “Yeah. It’s good fun.”

Her eyes bug out and she draws in a big breath. “Okay…”

 

Hayden J. Weal About Last Night

Wut…?

 

Alright. What the fuck happened there?

I was made out to feel like I should apologise for not being cool. As if enjoying a film made for kids means I have inferior tastes to someone who exclusively enjoys classics. This is not an okay way to make people feel. Everybody is allowed to like whatever they damn well please.

 

LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE

 

And relax if it’s not synonymous with everyone else’s likes. Yes, I like the song Problem by Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande. I love the Harry Potter books and reread them often. I rewatch the movies too.

As for the anal thing, I’m actually unsure. But if I had a penchant for it, I’d come out with it.

I also like The Hunger Games and Zac Efron and went and saw The Equalizer the other night and loved it. Denzel Washington kicking arse and taking names in an R18 violent vigilante flick that critics scoff at but audiences love. Some of these things are considered uncool for a 26 year old male to enjoy but I’m stoked! I dig them!

 

WHOA!

WHOA!

 

A lot of people are so concerned with how they’re coming off to the rest of the world, poring over status updates, rewording tweets and applying filters to photos that they have no idea how to react when somebody unashamedly states they enjoy something that’s deemed ‘uncool’ by a ‘cool’ demographic.

 

Same goes for the pressures to like something. Don’t enjoy smoking? Sex? One Direction? That’s entirely up to you and don’t let anyone tell you it’s strange or embarrassing. I’m lucky I have a relatively fortified self esteem so insults about my preferences tend to bead off my feathers onto the dusty ground. But for a lot of people, the ridicule sinks in and they find the best solution is to alter their likes according to what’s acceptable in their social group. Fuck ’em. Like what you like.

 

When you’re watching that cheesy romance film or listening to that guilty pleasure album, what do those people’s views (I believe the modern term is ‘haters’) matter?  Besides, their scoffing faces blur into the background when placed alongside Zefron’s rock hard abs.

 

ABS ABS ABS

ABS ABS ABS

 

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Malaysia and the Mentors – Part 4/7

In Post Three, we left the teams at noon with just under twenty four hours to go until the end of the 48hour competition. Things are heating up. Emotions are running high while hours of sleep are running low.

 

Wednesday | 4:32pm

The edits are coming along fine but the editors have a severe lack of things to do. They are currently sitting around making tiny tweaks on their small amount of footage, waiting for the rest of the crew to shoot something so they can edit more. I’m gonna head back to the hotel at 5pm as I’m getting a little sick of hearing Jerry the editor scratch his hair and body (these things happen when you’re in a small room with one other person for a prolonged period of time) then I’ll come back with Aliff around 9-10pm and stay until morning. It’s gonna be uncomfortable but I’ll manage.

editor sleeps kuching 48hours

Crew members need sleep. 48hour film festival can be detrimental to one’s health

Earlier, I went for a fantastic poo. But sadly – it pains me to relive this -no toilet paper. There isn’t any toilet paper in the whole university despite its 20,000 students. So, I crouched on the soaking wet toilet seat (as the douche next to it must be regularly used) and proceeded to shit all over the back of the seat on accident, not being used to the angle. Only one of two nuggets landed on the seat so I washed them back into the bowl with the douche, the fact dawning on me that this is possibly why the seat was so wet in the first place. Now I wish I at least photographed them as evidence like a national geographic journalist capturing the trials of a traveller aboard.

Afterward, I tried to ignore the fact that the cleaner was in the bathroom and would’ve seen my poo still in the toilet, as the fucking thing didn’t flush either. It sat there, as pathetic as the foreigner it recently escaped from. I hurried back to the cinematography building with a sweaty, shitty arse and a longing for the creature comforts I’m used to.
Hours later when I couldn’t bare the itchiness a second longer, I requested some tissues and excused myself for a well deserved, long awaited wipe.

 

7:50pm

Had a fifteen minute sleep in my hotel room. Strangely, today is the first time I haven’t fallen asleep on the way back from the university in Yusef’s hot car. Usually the heat, fatigue and winding roads drags me into a slumber quick smart but not today. Today I was wide awake the whole trip, txting and whatsapping and restless.

After my nap, I woke up and sat on my phone then read with a coffee. I’m waiting for Aliff to pick me up now. We planned to have a big dinner together but he has cancelled this as Team Skywar are still filming and he wants to be there for it. I have rushed out to grab a bite to eat before the final fourteen hours of the competition whack me over the face.

Cats Kuching

Cats everywhere in Kuching. Just everywhere.

I’m the only diner on the top floor of this restaurant next door to the hotel. It smells faintly of human poo – maybe that’s why. That, and the stray cats vying for food.

 

10:28pm

We are crammed in Aliff’s office, crowding around a table with four MacBooks on it. Two teams editing their films side by side, it’s beautiful really. The editing assistants source music and sound while the editors try to put together their masterpieces. I watch, gnawing my fist at their toddler-like pace. No, that’s rough – I’m letting the lack of sleep get to me. I have to remember that for them, this experience is exciting and new. They’re funny. They still call me Mr. Hayden which I secretly love because it makes me feel like a grown up and that I have something to offer the world that isn’t merely a childlike naïvety, the thing I’m most praised for.

We all gathered for the final stretch in Aliff's office. Two teams, four MacBooks, and a whole lotta brotherhood

We all gathered for the final stretch in Aliff’s office. Two teams, four MacBooks, and a whole lotta brotherhood

We are officially in our last quarter, time-wise. Aliff is pressuring Skywar to reshoot shots and I’m not in a place to argue. There are conversations regarding colour grades, sound design, all sorts. It’s heavenly. Exactly my nerdy kind of scene.

 

Thursday | 1:10am

The intervening hour and a half was spent shooting for the crew, and eating for us. Me, Aliff, Chong and Justin went out and got a cheap spicy feed from a surprisingly busy outdoor market. We sat and drank hot milky bubbly tea and slurped our noodles with shellfish and jalapeños, discussing the differences between NZ food and Malaysian food.

malaysian food

Delicious, spicy, juicy Malaysian food and wonderful company.

The plan was to get a Starbucks coffee after, my shout, as they’d never had one before, but midnight ticked over while we sat there and we watched the lights go out. I promised them one in the morning as they are quite expensive and considered a superfluous luxury. Now I’m settling in for a small nap while the editors edit their new footage. Both teams have completed their shooting. Good times!

 

5:48am

The edits are basically locked, sound, music and colour grade being the chief concentration these last couple of hours. Of course, the lecturers have taken control, leaning over their students and prying the keyboard to change what they feel needs to be changed which I can imagine to be infuriating for the students but they don’t say anything.

I slept on the hard floor and am feeling more tired and fatigued than usual. It’s almost welcomed as I felt I wasn’t putting in enough effort before, but now I am. I went through Skywar’s edit with the assistant editor while the editor scratched himself in his sleep on the floor and made small tweaks to sound to clean it up, always taking care to check and explain to the assistant editor so she understood I wasn’t cleaving into her work unduly. This was a lengthy process as explaining these edits to a friend would have taken time, but to someone who speak English as a second language? Despite this, we got there.

Is there a more satisfying feeling?

Is there a more satisfying feeling? The exporting!

I haven’t watched a full cut of Xpress’s film yet because they are constantly bent over two laptops working furiously at it and I don’t want to interrupt, but will have to soon.

Aliff really wants to use copyrighted music so I’ve had to explain that it would render their team disqualified. He finds this unfair. He wants to use the song Killing Me Softly.

Time is ticking away. We have four hours to complete the challenge.

 

10:08am

We have crossed the finish line with roaring success!! Everyone clapped and we all took a whole bunch of photos to celebrate. For that glorious moment, everyone forgets how much they smell and itch and ache. We are all filmmakers! And the films are surely Oscar worthy!

Success! Celebration!

Success! Celebration!

Both teams completed and exported their films with a healthy amount of time to spare. Time for Starbucks then back to the hotel for a lengthy shower.

 

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Malaysia and the Mentors – Part 3/7

48hours malaysia begins!

In March 2014, 4 kiwi filmmakers were shipped to Malaysia to mentor a group of universities through Malaysia’s first ever 48hour filmmaking competition as part of NZ week. See Part 1 and Part 2.

When we left, I was in the depths of University Sarawak in Kuching, the small island about an hour’s flight from Kuala Lumpur. The students were assembled. Two teams. All facing me and a projector screen with a countdown on it.

 

Kuching University Sarawak 48hours

Two film crews gather, twitching and nervous but excited

 

Wednesday 10:54am

Announcement of the start went down an absolute treat! The teams (Skywar and Xpress) clapped and laughed and cheered when they were awarded their numbers and assigned genres. They gasped when Dan made the rules clear even though I’d spend the last day explaining these…

Team Skywar got Thriller and Team Xpress got Road Movie. As soon as we said goodbye to Dan and the KL teams, they hurried off to start brainstorming. Aliff the head lecturer and most accomplished English speaker expressed his many concerns, he seems to be letting the pressure get to him after almost an hour.

The students have not settled on ideas yet. They’re sitting in big circles in their beautiful air conditioned atrium plotting and discussing. I feel confident for them.

 

Team Skywar (top left) and Team Xpress (bottom right) brainstorm their ideas

Team Skywar (top left) and Team Xpress (bottom right) brainstorm their ideas

 

12:18pm

The pressure is not getting to them. The writers are writing, the directors are prepping, art department and camera are getting gear ready, and I’m wandering between the two groups asking if they need help. Which they don’t. I am tethered to this massive university though, and walking around in the sweltering heat is exhausting. I’d love lunch or a coffee but I’m not sure it’s quite that easy. They have a fruit stall … oh it’s on the other side of the lake, about thirty fives minutes walk. Aliff is still panicky but I’m sure he’ll calm down once he realises the students are onto it. He feels responsible for everything they do.

 

The rules.

The rules.

 

4:17pm

The students are killing it! We have two interesting and well thought through scripts. They both aim to turnover their first shot at 5pm. I went for a walk through the university and almost collapsed from the humidity so sat by the lake and read my book for a while. I tell ya, I prefer this ‘mentoring’ to competing. So far I’m impressed by the students initiative and hope they can keep up their energy and amiability with one another. Wondering why I haven’t had the urge to do a shit yet as I had a big greasy breakfast and lunch. I need fruit juice and coffee.

 

7:08pm

We’ve decided to take a break. Aliff agreed that we’d both go home and let the students work their magic then return around 8pm to see how they’re going. In that time, I’ve hit the gym for an average workout, sweated it up in the sauna, put my phone on charge for the third time today and went out to the most popular seafood restaurant in Kuching called Top Spot. I’m really living the high life. I had chilli king prawns with rice and vegetables and a watermelon and orange freshly squeezed juice. The entire experience cost 40 ringgit, the equivalent of NZD$13. Amazing. Now I’m stocking up on coffee so I can stay up late with these teams!!

 

Top Spot Kuching

The incredible spread of Top Spot in Kuching boggled my mind because I could afford it – a world first

 

10:47pm

Team Skywar are shooting their first scene. Team Xpress are shooting their third. The footage looks amazing and the leading lady in Skywar’s film, Kalai, is gorgeous. Put a static shot of her on the screen for seven minutes just smiling and looking at the screen and I’d be happy. Aliff is panicking more than the students which is creating a really nice juxtaposition as he is looking casual in shorts and a tight tee. Compared to their ideal time plan, hey are behind which is to be expected, and I’m seeing a lot of time being wasted by the usual pitfalls (arguments) but if they get enough footage to edit with they’ll be able to make up for it with sound and music.

 

Kalai, the beauty of Skywar's horror film

Kalai, the beauty of Skywar’s horror film

 

Thursday 12:23am

Team Xpress are doing okay. Not a lot of communication in either teams which is always the way with beginners. I’m tired and starting to feel gross as I’ve been sweating all day but Aliff insists we stick around for shooting despite the students not asking us anything and their general indifference to our presence.

 

Team Xpress's lighting setup

Team Xpress’s lighting setup

 

12:47am

Back with Team Skywar and they’re starting to fade. People are slumped on desks, lying on the ground, sitting on the floor leaning against the walls, falling asleep. They have four shots remaining in this scene so I’ve suggested they send their post production team home to sleep, and consider shooting their final scene tomorrow while the editing is happening. Most of my suggestions are falling on ears that are untrained in English.

 

Around take 40, the tears came due to emotional fatigue

Around take 40, the tears came due to emotional fatigue

 

4:09am

We are still shooting. Oh yes. I am still here. Eighteen hours into the competition. We’re shooting in a tunnel with a light and everybody is in remarkably good spirits considering. It’s raining too.

 

4am

4am

 

5:54am

Back at hotel for a three hour nap then breakfast then back to set. The world is spinning.

 

Coffee. Fruit. Happiness.

Coffee. Fruit. Happiness.

11:56am

Woke up at 9am and had a rushed blurry shower then hurried down a breakfast before my pickup with Yusry. At the uni I found Jerry editing Skywar’s film in the upstairs editing room. He has assembled all seven shots they’ve filmed – perfect. I helped him lay atmos in and a couple of sound effects. Because he doesn’t understand English very well, and I speak no Malay, this was a very fun exercise.

 

Editing with a foreign language speaker. I really felt for him.

Editing with a foreign language speaker. I really felt for him.

Aliff turned up and put in his thoughts. He emphasised the bad lighting and awkward angles instead of commenting on the edit and I got a bit annoyed by this. What’s the point in lamenting what’s been done? Despite lacking footage and story, it’s a cool little film that we can make effective with sound effects and creepy music. Saffwan, the AD of Xpress, sent me a picture of them shooting. They’ve written their film with night and day scenes so they have something to do today. Very clever. I look forward to seeing their edit. I have an overwhelming feeling of deep appreciation for my collaborators back in NZ. I txt the guys and told them that no matter how frustrating it is editing with each other, I now have the experience of editing with a non-English speaking amateur student. Communication is so key.

 

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Malaysia Part 2 of 7: Meeting the Students

Last time we caught up in Malaysia Part 1, it was mid-morning, I was crouching on a toilet in the Kuala Lumpur airport ready to board my Malaysia Air flight to the beautiful island of Kuching. I knew I’d be mentoring a handful of film students through their first 48hour filmmaking competition and that the language barrier would perhaps be a hurdle. But there’s no way I could’ve anticipated the depth I’d lose myself in.

From KL to Kuching, leaving the group to fly solo

From KL to Kuching, leaving the group to fly solo

 

March 17th – Monday – 2:03pm

I am off the plane. I have traveled through customs and immigration without understanding a word of any signs or dialogue. I am in a car that has been boxed in, sweltering hot in the back seat, and have thankfully met the wonderful young men who know where to take me so I can check into a hotel and dump my bags and relax.

 

Malaysia airport

Kuala Lumpur airport – bigger than Wellington

 

5:32pm

Hayden J. Weal in a taxi

“How many students are there, I’ve been told around ten.”
“Forty.”
“…”

So…the lovely men who drove me here kindly informed me that I’ll be lecturing for six hours to forty students tomorrow. Jumping Christ. I could talk about filmmaking for six years, no worries, in English, but apparently the language barrier in Kuching is significantly higher than in Kuala Lumpur. Which leaves me with no idea how to go about it. But right now, after thirty hours of traveling, I don’t really want to think about it. So I took this photo to remember how I felt.

 

 

I checked into the hotel that I’m staying at. It’s waterside. It’s called the Hilton… hahahaha. Five stars and very nice of course. I came up to my room, got on the wifi, had a nice long shower and set about trying to find my way around. First things first, I was running outta battery so had to find an adaptor. My good friend Caleb had offered me one but I forgot about it. I also forgot briefs. That’s right. Ten days and one pair of briefs.

 

Hilton hotel Kuching

Showered and admiring the views

 

I washed all my stinky clothes in the basin, hung them up on the makeshift clothesline in the shower, then explored. The waterfront here is beautiful. Colours everywhere, a murky brown river flows down the length of the city and a great big golden-spired event centre type building stands proudly among the trees over the bank. I walked in the stifling heat, loving every second, bought a skanky little chicken kebab for about $1.20 and a cheap orange juice and kept walking, stopping into shops. The trinkets on offer seem to be the same crap from Thailand and Bali except more expensive. I didn’t buy any.

 

Kuching waterfront

I got a local to take this for me. They were friendly and played my iPhone like a violin

 

I got back to the hotel and scored an adaptor from reception, hit the gym (after having to don my pink socks and dressy shoes as covered footwear is compulsory) then rocked a swim in the pool that they have here, because they have a pool, filled with water and the temperature is perfect for swimming. I’m currently sitting naked at my luxuriously large and ornate wooden desk pretending to be professional.

 

6:13pm

Possibly living the coolest life ever. I’m sitting in an open air restaurant overlooking the river and it’s pouring with rain around me. I have a watermelon juice and my dinner is to be coconut prawn curry. I’m surrounded by couples or groups of friends. I am the only sole diner. After this I’m going to walk along the boardwalk back to hotel and make some notes about what I’ll talk about tomorrow.

 

Kuching boardwalk

Aw little boats and fairy lights and a stormy sky

 

Tuesday 4:03am

I fell asleep some time between 9 and 9:30pm without writing anything down. I must’ve drifted off because I’ve just woken up, naked save for a book slumped on my chest, and all the lights are on. Either I drifted off or a hotel worker is playing games with me. The loudest thunder I have had the pleasure of hearing in my life is shaking my room. Absolutely gorgeous. Bright flashes on white announce the lightning then seconds later big giants fight in the sky.

 

7:36am

I got up at 6am and answered txts from Abby, my girlfriend. She’s stressed at work. Then I checked twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatsapp and skype, showered hunched over (like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation) and dressed, staring out at the sheets of rain that made the view of the swimming pool look like a painting. Also, I’m really confused by all the cat statues. I haven’t mentioned that yet. They’re at every intersection. And these aren’t little statuettes or ornaments, these are great big looming concrete canine cliques.

 

Kuching cats

Placed at every intersection in Kuching are cat statues. There’s a cat museum too.

 

Me and Dan Skyped about the day and he reiterated the important of leaving political comments out of the films, particularly about the disappearance of MH370. I was to be strict on this.
I’m at the breakfast buffet with my book, lounging and sighing after overeating, and gulping the strong coffee despite the laxative effect it’s surely to shortly have.

 

8:19am

After waiting in the lobby for 20 minutes, the coffee’s taken effect. Instead of waiting for our scheduled break time, I had to fast track it. I’m currently sitting in a warm stall (even the seat’s warm!) hoping the Unimas (Kuching university) representative doesn’t show up while I’m here. I told the bellboy where I would be so all should be well. Stay tuned.

 

8:33am

As predicted, I came out of the toilet to a waiting driver. Am en route to university now.

 

On my way to Unimas, significantly lighter

On my way to Unimas, significantly lighter. Yusry the driver always has a smile ready for me

 

11:12am

Lecture’s going very well. As expected, the students don’t understand most of what I say but we have some helpful translators who clarify things when it gets too confusing, which is often.

 

Kuching Unimas

Head film tutor Aliff and I in Unimas

 

I have set them up into teams to do a directing activity, they are to make a scene with the constructs I’ve given them (one character tries to get a secret out of another) and they’ll perform them for us soon, and the class will give suggestions how to make the scene better. The timid students are already having a hard time, especially the girls. I showed them all Hot Rob and was greeted with applause and smiling faces, taking snaps on their phones as I was speaking. I feel like a rockstar.

 

Hot Rob Malaysia

Hot Rob plays to students in Kuching Unimas, Malaysia!

 

7:51pm

Wow, long day. The lecturing was great. After class they all wanted photos with me which took about ten minutes. They seemed to want every possible combination: me with them, me with their friends, me with them and their friends, me with them and their friends but on the other side, etc. was a lot of fun. Then Aliff took me to the mall and his crew shouted me a massive lunch of Malaysian food. So good! After that we went to a phone shop and I scored a SIM card. I am now on the system.

 

Kuching Unimas students

I’m always happiest surrounded by female film fans

 

The second half of the day’s educating was significantly more challenging. I talked about 48hour filmmaking for the first hour. Pitfalls, rules, ideas, tips, team spirit … Then I seemed to run out of steam. The students were dead silent the entire class, sometimes giving me a slight tip of the head to let me know they could hear me, but for the most part I felt like I was talking to a wall. Or seventy walls. Made of eyes and Islamic headgear. However, we powered on and made the most of if – I showed them Timelanders – nothing. No response whatsoever. After we finished I was driven home by Yusry and fell asleep the entire hour long drive, exhausted from non-stop talking.
Back the hotel I went to the gym, swam, then walked to the waterfront. I caught a 50c boat across the river and am now sitting in an open air food court. Each eatery has their own space where a garage door opens up revealing a cramped space full of cooking gear and a smiling family. A designated number and a specialty food is painted above each stall. I have ordered a nasi goreng Sarawak from one place and a watermelon and orange juice from the neighbouring lady. Very excited. Kids playing with cats surround me as I wait at a brightly coloured picnic table.

 

Sarawak food

Cheap, open air, friendly, colourful – Sarawak, Kuching rocks

 

Wednesday 7:00am

Dinner was lovely, although underwhelming considering I ate the local specialty dish. It was very soupy. However, the watermelon and orange juice was incredible so I got a second for the walk back for the jaw-dropping price of NZ50c. I wandered back to the hotel and retired early, about 8:30pm, and read with a coffee lying naked on my bed with the curtains open and air conditioning at the perfect naked temperature.

I woke up at 6:30am, the thought like a lightning bolt – 48HOUR FILMMAKING MALAYSIA BEGINS TODAY. Time to shower, take my sweet time over breakfast and enjoy the hour long drive to university where the film students await.

 

9:19am

48hour filmmaking Malaysia

The countdown to the first ever 48hour filmmaking competition Malaysia begins

Forty minutes until the competition begins. We have a mac set up with Skype directly to Dan and the team in KL. It’s being projected onto the big screen with nice loud sound. Students are starting to file in now and you can feel the nervous energy in the air. When I asked if they were ready they all said YES MR HAYDEN nice and loud. The most confident they’ve been since I met them. I wonder how that confidence will keep over the next two days…

 

Malaysia 48hours

Skype setup to Dan Slevin and co in Kuala Lumpur – we are ready. Countdown begins now.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3

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Alright, alright, alright.

 

Richard Linklater has directed two films in my top ten. The eternally entertaining (and career making) Dazed and Confused, and the beautiful romance trilogy Before Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight (it’s a series, but I’m gonna refer to it as a single entity for the sake of cleanliness).

 

 

Ethan Hawke Julie Delpy

Before Sunrise. A dialogue driven romance. I’ve lost track of the names people have called me for liking these films so much.

 

Because of this, I’ve anticipated the release of Boyhood for a very long time. It was always listed on IMDb as Linklater’s ‘Untitled 12 Year Project’ since I can remember. I used to scour the internet for details like a mum nit-checking their kid, frantic and forever hopeful, and I’d return fruitless. Nitless and dejected.

 

For those of you not familiar with the project, let me summarize:

Richard Linklater, phenomenal director specialising in coming-of-age, existential, poignant and funny films, was watching his 6 year old daughter dancing and singing around the hosue one day.

‘I’d love to capture that feeling of growing up,’ he thought. ‘But how do I do it? I don’t wanna center the story around one particular experience because that doesn’t encapsulate the feeling of growing up, so what do I do?’

His solution: he’d shoot 3-5 days per year for TWELVE YEARS, capturing the essence of growing throughout the life of a modern, normal kid. The good times, the bad times, the times that nobody think matter, a bit of all of it.

So that’s what he did.

 

I was around 14 when they started shooting this damn thing, and I was obsessed with Dazed. I’d watch it every Saturday with my friends. It helped us get in the mood for partying and encouraged us to do something stupid. Fast forward twelve years and Linklater’s given us Before Sunrise, SubUrbia, Waking Life, School of Rock, Before Sunset, Fast Food Nation, A Scanner Darkly, Me and Orson Welles (starring my good friend Zac Efron), Bernie and my favourite film of last year, Before Midnight.

 

Boyhood

Ellar Coltrane, the boy in Boyhood, in his youngest portrayal of our hero, Mason.

 

Then I saw it, in the 2014 NZ International Film Festival program, Boyhood. I bought tickets with a large group and waited.

And waited.

And scrolled through twitter, my heart lurching every time it was mentioned. Boyhood sat comfortably on 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and some industry friends had seen it at a super-mega-VIP screening to glowing reviews.

Eventually, the day dawned. Sunday 3rd August. Me and my girlfriend (ultra-aware of my excitement – poor girl has become nearly as sensitive as I to nearby popcorn chewers or chip-packet-rustlers or whisperers) walked into the Embassy Theatre. It was packed. People everywhere. Large sweaty bodies milling around sipping Americanos, twiddling their facial hair and nibbling popcorn.

The 12 year progression of Mason (Ellar)

The 12 year progression of Mason (and Ellar)

 

Then the film played. The whole premise is risky. It’s different. The result is beautiful. Just under three hours of naturalistic acting and wavy emotional beats with no distinctive “plot”, but a strong and affecting “story”. Laughs are scattered throughout, especially when Mason is a boy, and there are some heavily dramatic scenes, through the most intense of which I could feel my heart racing in my ears. Linklater nails tension, something he’s not particularly known for.

The films starts Ellar Coltrane in the leading role, the boy whose boyhood we watch unfold and unravel. He’s mega-natural and charming, an adorable kid who grows into an awkward but likable man.

Patricia Arquette (who I’ve never liked – don’t tell anyone) is fantastic in her ‘single mother struggling with bad life decisions’ role. It’s easily the best I’ve ever seen her.

Ethan Hawke plays Ellar’s father and you could feel the audience yearning for more every time he left a scene. I dig him, he’s intelligent and cool (the guy wrote Before Sunset and Before Midnight with Linklater and co-star Julie Delpy and is coming fresh from an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay last year!).

Mason’s fast-talking and eye-rolling sister Samantha is played by Linklater’s real life daughter Lorelei, the former 6 year old dancing, singing, kooky kid who inspired the thought process behind the project.

Lorelei Linklater

Lorelei Linklater and Patricia Arquette – the two beautiful women who play the beautiful women in Mason’s life

 

Lorelei begged her dad to play the role when she was 6 and daddy acquiesced. Years later when entering her early teens, Lorelei wanted out and begged for her character to be killed off. Relax, this doesn’t happen, Lorelei regained enthusiasm in the project after those awkward image conscious, breast-growing years and  lo, she seems to be a lot of people’s favourite thing about the film. Particularly as a young ‘un, she’s hilarious.

 

The look of Boyhood is perfunctory but lovely. Despite being shot over 12 years, the colours match almost seamlessly. The first half of the film has that beautiful, muted, slightly pastel patina reminiscent of great ’90s films, pulling me straight into Dazed and Confused nostalgia.

 

Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused (1993)
The epitome of teen coming-of-age film. The role that made McConaughey cool.

 

The soundtrack. The soundtrack. It kills it. It absolutely nails every period of time, encapsulating the feeling of that period of your life and pulling you back to it. I’m talking Britney Spears, The Hives, Coldplay, Blink 182, then we get into the indie hits that everyone felt they were original for listening to, Phoenix, Wilco, Kings of Leon, Foster The People… oh, and there’s a Sheryl Crow number in there too, that’s the only one that stumped me.

 

And maybe best of all…

 

Besides the amazing premise, killer soundtrack, gorgeous look and naturalistic acting, Boyhood references Harry Potter and The Beatles numerous times. I was in heaven. One of my favourite directors referencing Harry Potter is like putting crack in the chocolate sauce of a chocolate cake laced with ecstasy. And, as if he needed to push my euphoria even further, Ethan Hawke relishes these lengthy Beatles diatribes as he’s genuinely into them. I felt myself leave my body. Who needs drugs when you have pure escapism like this film?

 

Zoe Graham

This girl is in the film too. Zoe Graham. Truly, go see this movie

 

The supporting cast are flawless too. There’s a wonderful Dazed and Confused cameo, a couple of cracker real world villains and this little number above, Zoe Graham. Linklater has a penchant for casting strange looking girls whose beauty grows on your brain like moss and Boyhood is no exception. But for once, I’m not gonna wax lyrical about pretty girls. Suffice it to say she’s a fantastic actress and plays her part as well as she plays my heart and let’s leave it there.

 

I love this movie. It’s a real head-spinning heart-twister. It comes to cinemas in NZ at the end of the month and I’ll be telling everyone who I respect to see it.

Richard Linklater, I can’t wait to shake your hand and thank you.

 

Ellar and Linklater

Leading man Ellar with legendary director Richard Linklater

 

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